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Victoria's Secrets Reading List

Victoria's Secrets: Secrecy in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, 2021/22, Semester 1
Dr James Mussell
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Primary Texts

These are texts that you must read:

Anonymous [W.T. Stead], 'The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon', Pall Mall Gazette., 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 July 1885. Available in 19th Century British Newspapers (2007-) here:  

Blind, Mathilde, ‘The Song of the Willi’, in The Poetical Works of Mathilde Blind, ed. by Arthur Symons (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1900), pp. 282-285.  Available via Internet Archive here.

Brooks, Peter, ‘Reading for the Plot’ and ‘Narrative Desire’ in Reading for the Plot (1984; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 3-36 and 37-48. The first chapter, 'Reading for the Plot', is available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning Resources. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Browning, Robert, 'Porphyria's Lover' (1836) and 'My Last Duchess' (1842). Any copy of the poem is fine, but they are available in Literature Online here and here.   

Carroll, Lewis, 'Jabberwocky', in Through the Looking Glass, edited by Hugh Haughton (1998; London: Penguin Classics, 2003). Available in Internet Archive here although any other edition is also fine.  

Darwin, Francis, ed., The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter (London: John Murray, 1887). Available via Darwin Online (2006-) here 

Darwin, Charles, various letters available via the Darwin Correspondence Project. They are:  

Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ed. by Stephen Gill (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008).  

Doyle, Arthur Conan, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Richard Lancelyn Green (Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 2008).  

Eliot, George, ‘The Lifted Veil’, in The Lifted Veil, edited by Helen Small (Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 2009), pp. 1-43.  

Freud, Sigmund, ‘The Uncanny’ in The uncanny, trans. David McClintock (London: Penguin, 2003), pp. 123-162. Available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning Resources. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Furneaux, Holly, 'Sexuality’ in Charles Dickens in Context, edited by Sally Ledger and Holly Furneaux (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 358-364. Available online via the Library. 

Gaskell, Elizabeth, ‘The Old Nurses Tale’, in Gothic Tales ISBN: 014043741X, edited by Laura Kranzler (London: Penguin, 2000).  Any other edition is also fine. Available online via Project Gutenberg here.       

Kipling, Rudyard, 'Mrs Bathurst', Traffics and Discoveries (London: Macmillan and Co., 1904), pp. 337-365. Available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning ResourcesAvailable as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Lodge, David ‘Indeterminacy in Modern Narrative: Reading Off “Mrs Bathurst”’, in After Bakhtin: Essays on Fiction and Criticism (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 143-153. Available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning Resources. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Marcus, Steven, 'Chapter one: Mr Acton of Queen Anne Street, or, the Wisdom of Our Ancestors’, in The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1966), pp. 1-33. Available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning Resources. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Poe, Edgar Allan, 'The Purloined Letter', in The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings: Poems, Tales, Essays and Reviews, edited by David Galloway (London: Penguin Classics, 2003). Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva   Any other edition is also fine.            

Rossetti, Christina, 'In an Artist's Studio' and 'Winter: My Secret', in The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti, edited by R.W. Crump (Louisiana State University Press, 1979-1990). Available in Literature Online [electronic resource]. here and here but any other copies of the poems are fine too.      

Welsh, Alexander, 'More and More Knowledge’ and ‘Threatening Publicity’ in George Eliot and blackmail (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), pp. 33-84. The first of these chapters 'More and More Knowledge' is available in the Online Course Readings Folder in Learning Resources. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva  

Wood, Ellen, East Lynne, ed. by Elisabeth Jay (Oxford: Oxford Classics, 2008).  

Top of page

Further Reading:

These are texts for suggested further reading. They are taken from my working bibliography here.


Greenslade, William, Degeneration, culture and the novel 1880-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Kemp, Sandra, Kipling's hidden narratives (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1998).

Kucich, John, The power of lies : transgression in Victorian fiction (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994).

Lee, Maurice, Overwhelmed: Literature, Aesthetics, and the Nineteenth-Century Information Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019).

Low, Gail Ching-Liang, White skins/Black masks : representation and colonialism (London: Routledge, 1996).

McCuskey, Brian W., 'The Kitchen Police: Servant Surveillance and Middle-Class Transgression’, Victorian literature and culture., 28 (2000), 359-375.

Miller, D.A., The novel and the police (Berkley: University of California Press, 1998).

Pionke, Albert D., and Denise Tieschler Millstein, eds, Victorian secrecy : economies of knowledge and concealment (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

Simmel, Georg, 'The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies', American Journal of Sociology. 11 (1906), 441-498.

Thoms, Peter, Detection and its designs : narrative & power in 19th-century detective fiction (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1998).

Thomas, Ronald R., Detective fiction and the rise of forensic science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Vincent, David, The culture of secrecy : Britain, 1832-1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Welsh, Alexander, George Eliot and blackmail (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1985).

York, R.A., Strangers and secrets : communication in the nineteenth-century novel (Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994.

Žižek, Slavoj, Looking awry : an introduction to Jacques Lacan through popular culture (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1991).

Narrative Secrets

Allen, Walter, The short story in English (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982).

Bernstein, Susan, Confessional subjects : revelations of gender and power in Victorian literature and culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997).

Brooks, Peter, Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative (1984; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).

Cobley, Paul, Narrative (London: Routledge, 2010).

Da Sousa Correa, Delia, ed., The nineteenth-century novel : realisms (London: Routledge, 2000).

Heller, Tamar, Dead secrets : Wilkie Collins and the female gothic (Yale: Yale University Press, 1992).

Hughes, Linda K. and Michael Lund, The Victorian serial (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991).

Jaffe, Audrey, Vanishing points : Dickens, narrative and the subject of omniscience (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1991).

Johnson, Barbara, ‘The Frame of Reference: Poe, Lacan, Derrida’, Yale French studies., 55/56 (1997), 457–505.

Killick, Tim, British short fiction in the early nineteenth century : the rise of the tale (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).

Lacan, Jacques, and Jeffrey Mehlman, “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’”. Yale French studies. 48 (1972), 39-72.

Lodge, David, After Bakhtin : essays on fiction and criticism (London: Routledge, 1990).

Most, Glenn W. and William T. Stowe, eds, The poetics of murder : detective fiction and literary theory (San Diego: Harcourt, Bruce, Javonavich, 1983).

Muller, John P. and William J. Richardson, eds, The Purloined Poe : Lacan, Derrida & psychoanalytic reading (Baltimore, Ma: Johns Hopkins Press, 1987).

Orel, Harold, The Victorian short story : development and triumph of a literary genre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

Ousby, Ian, Bloodhounds of heaven : the detective in English fiction from Godwin to Doyle (Cambridge: Mass: Harvard University Press, 1976).

Shattock, Joanne and Michael Wolff, eds, The Victorian periodical press : samplings and soundings (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1982).

Sex and Secrecy

W.T. Stead, ‘The Armstrong Case: Mr Stead’s Defence in Full’ (London: H. Vickers, 1885). Available via JSTOR here.

Mulpetre, Owen, ed, Attacking the Devil: The W.T. Stead Resource Site (2008-).

Bland, Lucy, Banishing the beast : English feminism and sexual morality 1885-1914 (1993; London: Tauris Parke, 2001).

Bland, Lucy and Laura Doan, eds, Sexology in Culture: Labelling Bodies and Desires (Cambridge: Polity, 1998).

Brake, Laurel, ‘The Old Journalism and the New: Forms of Cultural Production in London in the 1880s’, in Subjugated knowledges : journalism, gender and literature in the nineteenth century (London: Macmillan, 1994). Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

Cocks. H. G., Nameless offences : homosexual desire in the nineteenth century (London: I. B. Taurus, 2003).

Cook, Matt, London and the culture of homosexuality, 1885-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Cohen, Ed., Talk on the Wilde side : toward a genealogy of a discourse on male sexualities (New York: Routledge, 1993).

Dellamora, Richard, Masculine desire : the sexual politics of Victorian aestheticism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990).

Dellamora, Richard, ed., Victorian sexual dissidence (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Dollimore, Jonathan, Sexual dissidence : Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991).

Foucault, Michel, The History of Sexuality vol. 1, an introduction trans. Robert Hurley (1976; London: Penguin, 1998).

Furneaux, Holly, Queer Dickens: Erotics, Families, Masculinities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Kaplan, Morris B., Sodom on the Thames : sex, love, and scandal in Wilde times (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2005).

Marcus, Sharon, Between women : friendship, desire, and marriage in Victorian England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).

Marcus, Steven, The Other Victorians (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1966).

Poovey, Mary, Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (London: Virago, 1989).

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, Between men : English literature and male homosocial desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, Epistemology of the Closet (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).

Sinfield, Alan, The Wilde century : effeminacy, Oscar Wilde and the queer moment (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

Sweet, Matthew, Inventing the Victorians (London: Faber, 2001).

Walkowitz, Judith R., City of dreadful delight : narratives of sexual danger in late-Victorian London (London: Virago, 1992).

Weeks, Jeffrey, Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (London: Longman, 1981).

Science, Secrecy and the Occult

Barrow, Logie, Independent spirits : Spiritualism and English plebeians, 1850-1910 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).

Beer, Gillian, Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1983; 2000; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Briggs, Julia, Night visitors : the rise and fall of the English ghost story (London: Faber, 1977).

Broks, Peter, Media science before the Great War (London: Macmillan, 1996).

Bown, Nicola, Carolyn Burdett and Pamela Thurschwell, eds, The Victorian supernatural (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Daston, Lorraine, ed., Biographies of scientific objects (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).

Despotopoulou, Anna, 'Gender Transfusion in George Eliot's "The Lifted Veil"', George Eliot - George Henry Lewes Studies, 58/9 (2010), 2-19. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (CRH 24/08/2021) 

Flint, Kate,'Blood, Bodies, and The Lifted Veil', Nineteenth-Century Literature, 51.4 (1997), 455-73.

Galvan, Jill, 'The Narrator as Medium in George Eliot's The Lifted Veil', Victorian Studies, 48 (2006), 240-248.

Levine, George, Darwin and the novelists : patterns of science in Victorian fiction (1988; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Luckhurst, Roger, The invention of telepathy, 1870-1901 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

Mussell, James, Science, time, and space in the late Nineteenth-Century periodical press : movable types (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).

Oppenheim, Janet, The other world : spiritualism and psychical research in England, 1850-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

Pettitt, Clare, Patent Inventions: Intellectual Property and the Victorian Novel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Price, Cheryl Blake, 'Poison, Sensation, and Secrets in "The Lifted Veil", Victorian Review, 36.1 (2010), 203-216.

Thurschwell, Pamela, Literature, technology and magical thinking, 1880-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Shuttleworth, Sally, George Eliot and nineteenth century science : the make-believe of a beginning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).

Smith, Andrew, and William Hughes, The Victorian Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh University Press, 2012).

Van Wyhe, John, ‘Mind the Gap: Did Darwin Avoid Publishing his Theory for Many Years? ', Notes and records of the Royal Society of London., 61 (2007), 177-205. Available at Van Wyhe (ed.) Complete Works of Darwin Online (2008-).

Warner, Marina, Phantasmagoria : spirit visions, metaphors, and media into the twenty-first century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), especially ‘Phantoms to the Test’ and ‘Touching the Unknown’ (both in the Course Readings folder).Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Wolfreys, Julian, Victorian hauntings : spectrality, Gothic, the uncanny and literature (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002).

Sensation and Sensation Fiction

Bernstein, Susan David, 'Dirty Reading: Sensation Fiction, Women and Primitivism’, Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts., 36 (1994), 213-241.

Brantlinger, Patrick, 'What is “Sensational” about the “Sensation Novel”? ', Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 37 (1982): 1-28.

Heller, Tamar, Dead secrets : Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic ISBN: 0300045743 (alk. paper) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992).

Maunder, Andrew, 'Mapping the Victorian Sensation Novel: Some Recent and Future Trends’, Literature compass., 2 (2005), 1-33.

Maunder, Andrew, and Grace Moore, eds, Victorian crime, madness and sensation (Farnham: Ashgate, 2004).

Pykett, Lyn, The 'Improper' Feminine: The Women's Sensation Novel and the New Woman Writing (London: Routledge, 1992)

Taylor, Jenny Bourne, In the secret theatre of home : Wilkie Collins, sensation narrative, and nineteenth century psychology (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1988).


Ackroyd, Peter, London : the biography (London: Chatto and Windus, 2000).

Briggs, Asa, Victorian Cities (1963; London: Penguin, 1990).

Dyos, H. J. and Michael Wolff, eds, The Victorian city : images and realities, 2 vols (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978).

Fraser, David, Urban Politics in Victorian England: The Structure of Politics in Victorian Cities (London: Macmillan, 1979).

Freeman, Nicholas, Conceiving the city : London, literature, and art 1870-1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Mighall, Robert, A geography of Victorian Gothic fiction : mapping history's nightmares (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Morris, R.J. and Rodger Richard, eds, The Victorian city : a reader in British urban history, 1820-1914 (London: Longman, 1993).

Nead, Lynda, Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth-Century London (New Haven, Cnn: Yale University Press, 2000).

Nord, Deborah Epstein, Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation, and the City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).

Welsh, Alexander, The City of Dickens (1971; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986).

Ziegler, Garrett, 'The City of London, Real and Unreal’, Victorian studies., 49 (2007), 431-455.


This list was last updated on 14/08/2021